No fear of fines when the chips are down

The simple microchipping procedure. Lisa Ferguson photography.
The simple microchipping procedure. Lisa Ferguson photography.

From Wednesday (April 6) new legislation came into effect making it compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped.

Owners of dogs who fail to comply with the legislation will now face hefty fines if they don’t microchip their dog. The legislation affects all dogs aged eight weeks and older in Scotland, England and Wales, with Northern Ireland having introduced a similar law in 2012. Recent figures suggest 1.16 million dogs across the UK have yet to be microchipped, despite a 70 per cent increase in the number pets being microchipped in the last month.

Lucy Johnstone, head nurse at the Broughty Ferry Wallace Vets practice, told the Gazette: “We’ve been very busy with a steady intake of dogs both old and young, although we’re still getting the odd call.

“If a dog is found to not have a microchip, they require to have it done. If the dog owner chooses not to, and are reported to the local authority they will be issued with a notice. Dog owners have 21 days to have their pet microchipped after receiving a notice, and if they do not do so within this time they can be fined up to £500. We can’t enforce the new regulations but we have a professional responsibility to make sure all dogs that come to our Practice are microchipped.”

Asked if she had any advice for local dog owners, Lucy said: “If they haven’t done it already, make an appointment - it’s a quick and simple procedure.

“In addition, for anyone about to welcome a new pet into their home, puppies eight weeks of age and older shouldn’t leave a breeders without being microchipped. It’s also really important to ensure your contact information is kept up to date on the national database.”

Owners whose dogs are already microchipped are reminded to keep their contact details up-to-date.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary explained: “Pet owners need to treat their pet’s microchip information with the utmost importance. If the contact details are not updated, the task of returning a pet to its owner becomes almost impossible.

“Moving house, changing a mobile number or changing an email address are common ways a lost pet can lose permanent contact with its owner.”

Figures from Northern Ireland suggest microchipping has had a positive impact, since being introduced four years ago, with the number of stray dogs being reduced.